Bills to reduce Virginia menhaden catch making some progress

By Kathy Adams
The Virginian-Pilot
© February 8, 2013
Bills to reduce the number of menhaden that may be caught each year are progressing in the House of Delegates.

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources on Thursday unanimously approved HB2254, which would reduce the annual menhaden catch by 20 percent and would give the Virginia Marine Resources Commission some authority to manage the oily bait fish.

The same committee previously approved an identical version of the bill, which passed the Senate last month and is now awaiting approval in the House. That means the measure is likely to pass but will still require approval from Gov. Bob McDonnell. The governor has opposed the legislation but will likely give the final OK, his office said.

The bills would allow fishermen to catch up to 144,273 metric tons of Atlantic menhaden [in Virginia waters] each year. Control of the fish’s population has been an annual battle pitting commercial fishermen against environmentalists, who say menhaden are being overfished, hurting other species and the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.

Menhaden are valued for their use in health supplements, fertilizer and pet food.

Action comes this year shortly after federal authorities threatened sanctions against the state if it didn’t reduce its annual catch. Several other bills seeking to further limit menhaden harvests or make other changes to the fishery’s management have failed.

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Menhaden makes legislative progress in Virginia

Worth the read. Virginia “may” finally be taking some action.
Menhaden makes legislative leap – The Virginian-Pilot



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Is hired-gun fisheries scientist Dr. Doug Butterworth Responsible for Menhaden and other Fisheries Collapses?

Menhadendr doug butterworth fisheries scientist killing our fisheries?Amazing article on how a hired-gun fisheries scientist, Dr. Doug Butterworth (picture to the left, not the menhaden picture at the top of the article), has been employed repeatedly by the U.S. fishing industry to produce high population estimates for some of the East Coast’s most important fish, like Gulf of Maine cod and Atlantic menhaden.

Dr. Butterworth uses inflated estimates to game the regulatory system and delay management that would reduce fishing levels – with grave implications for the long-term health of the Atlantic Ocean. Read all the details:
Science for Hire: Why Industry’s Deep Pockets May Be Depleting the Last of Our Fisheries

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Take Five Minutes and Send this Letter to Save Menhaden Before the Nov 16th Deadline

Striped Bass eat Menhaden

They say a picture can say a thousand words. Proof our fish need and eat menhaden.

Send the the below or a version letter of it to the ASMFC by November 16. (ASMFC contact information at the end of this post). You can also send in your comments using the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s site that makes it very easy. Click here to go to the CBF site now. It will take you two minutes.

Your messages to the ASMFC need not be long. What counts is the number in favor of action.  Over 92,000 comments last year got the ball rolling. Even the briefest message counts.

Sample Letter

I am writing to urge the Menhaden Management Board to take immediate action to protect Atlantic menhaden from overfishing and restore the health of this important resource.

Menhaden are critical for ocean ecosystems and the economies of many East Coast states. They support thousands of commercial and recreational fishing jobs and tourism businesses that generate hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

I urge you to move forward with your commitments to increase the menhaden stock with strong final action on Amendment 2 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden. In particular, I strongly support:

1) ASFMC should adopt Section 2.5, Option B, which will set spawning stock reference points consistent with the existing fishing rate reference points.

2) ASFMC should adopt Section 2.6.2, Option C, to reduce the current fishing rate to the target rate within 5 years.

3) ASMFC should adopt Section 4.2.1, Option B, to use a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) to limit the harvest.

4) ASMFC should adopt Section, Option A, which specifies setting a TAC through an “ad-hoc” approach.  The multiplier used under that approach should be 0.75, and the catch should be allocated 30% bait and 70% reduction.

5) ASMFC should adopt Section 4.2.2, Option C, to adjust the Chesapeake Bay Cap consistent with the quota management approach population and provide more food for predators by adopting Section 2.5 Option B

Public concern for menhaden is exceptionally high. More than 92,000 people commented last November, urging immediate action to protect this vital link in the marine food web. Don’t delay. The board must act now to reduce harvest and allow menhaden to resume its role as a major food source in the ecosystem.

Your Name
Your Address

E-Mail to:

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The Secretive Fishery Management Agency that Regulates Menhaden
A pretty enlightening article how the management of menhaden really works. If this is the case for menhaden imagine how all the other fisheries along the coast are managed. Some scarey stuff!

Posted on by Save the Fish | 7 Comments

Menhaden Harvest as Fish Oil Jeopardizes Ocean Food Chain

Good article in the Vineyard Gazette on how the menhaden harvest is jeopardizing the ocean food chain .

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Hearings Schedule on Atlantic Menhaden Draft Amendment 2 – Voice your Support

Public hearings on the key document Draft Amendment 2 to the Menhaden Fisheries Management Plan have been scheduled.

Voice your support for meaningful harvest cuts.
Please pass the word to all fellow friends who care about the future of our fish.

Hearings Schedule on Atlantic Menhaden Draft Amendment 2

Maine Department of Marine Resources
October 17, 2012; 5 PM
Casco Bay Lines Conference Room
56 Commercial Street
Portland, Maine
Contact: Terry Stockwell at 207.624.6553

New Hampshire Fish and Game Department
October 15, 2012; 7 PM
Urban Forestry Center
45 Elwyn Road
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Contact: Doug Grout at 603.868.1095

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
October 16, 2012; 5:30 PM
Joseph Bourne Public Library
19 Sandwich Road
Bourne, Massachusetts
Contact: David Pierce at 617.626.1532
Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife
November 1, 2012; 6 PM
University of Rhode Island Bay Campus
Corless Auditorium
South Ferry Road
Narragansett Rhode Island
Contact: Jason McNamee at 401.423.1943

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
October 16, 2012; 7 PM
DEEP Marine Headquarters
Boating Education Center
333 Ferry Road
Old Lyme, Connecticut
Contact: David Simpson 860.434.6043

Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture Science &
Technology Center
October 18, 2012; 3 PM
60 St. Stevens Road
Bridgeport, Connecticut
Contact: David Simpson 860.434.6043

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
November 1, 2012; 6:30 PM
Marine Resources Headquarters
205 North Belle Mead Road, Suite 1
East Setauket, New York
Contact: Steve Heins at 631.444.0430

New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife
November 1, 2012; 7 PM
Atlantic County Library, Galloway Township
306 East Jimmie Leeds Road
Galloway, New Jersey
Contact: Peter Himchak at 609.748.2020

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
October 29, 2012; 7 PM
DNREC Auditorium
89 Kings Highway
Dover, Delaware
Contact: John Clark at 302.739.9914

Maryland Department of Natural Resources
October 30, 2012; 6 – 9 PM
Easton Armory
7111 Ocean Gateway (Route 50)
Easton, Maryland
Contact: Lynn Fegley at 410.260.8285

Northeast Community Center
November 1, 2012; 6 – 9 PM
4075 Gordon Stinnett Avenue
Chesapeake Beach, Maryland
Contact: Lynn Fegley at 410.260.8285

Potomac River Fisheries Commission
October 29, 2012; 6 PM
222 Taylor Street
Colonial Beach, Virginia
Contact: AC Carpenter at 804.224.7148

Virginia Marine Resources Commission
October 15, 2012; 6 PM
VMRC Headquarters, 4th Floor
2600 Washington Avenue
Newport News, Virginia
Contact:  Rob O’Reilly at 757.247.2247

Lancaster Middle School Auditorium
October 18, 2012; 6 – 9 PM
191 School Street
Kilmarnock, Virginia
Contact: Rob O’Reilly at 757.247.2247

 North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries
October 18, 2012; 6 PM
Central District Office Building
5285 Highway 70 West
Morehead City, NC 28557
Contact: Trish Murphey at 252.726.7021

The Draft Amendment presents a suite of options to manage and monitor the stock in both the short and long-term. These include options to end overfishing; change the biomass reference points to match the fishing mortality reference points; and establish a specification process to set and allocate total allowable catch (TAC), including procedures to close the fishery when a certain percentage of the TAC has been projected to be landed. It presents accountability measures to address quota transfers, rollovers, and overage payback, as well as options to allow for a specified amount of the TAC to be set aside for small scale fisheries and episodic events. To address monitoring and data collection needs, the Draft Amendment also presents options for timely quota monitoring and the collection of biological data through catch sampling.

The Draft Amendment responds to the findings of both the 2010 benchmark stock assessment and the 2012 stock assessment update that indicate the stock is experiencing overfishing but may or may not be overfished depending on the reference points chosen. The stock is not overfished based on the current reference points used in the most recent assessment. Given that the stock is experiencing overfishing, the Draft Amendment’s immediate goals are to take steps to end overfishing and manage Atlantic menhaden not only as a fishery but as a critical ecosystem component. However, uncertainties in the 2012 stock assessment update make it difficult to quantify the level of reductions needed to meet those goals. Therefore, the Draft Amendment includes a range of harvest reductions from 0 – 50% from current harvest levels. The broad range of potential harvest reductions and allocation scenarios enables the Board and the public to consider management options beyond the historical allocations and traditional quota setting approaches to best manage this fishery. The Technical Committee plans to address the issues with the stock assessment in the next benchmark assessment, currently planned for 2015.

Final action on the Amendment is anticipated to occur in December; information on that meeting will be announced once it has been finalized. Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Amendment either by attending state public hearings or providing written comment. Draft Amendment 2 is available on the Commission website at under Breaking News or by contacting the Commission at 703.842.0740. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on November 16, 2012 and should be forwarded to Mike Waine, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at 1050 N. Highland St., Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or (Subject line: Draft Amendment 2).

For more information, please contact Mike Waine at

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Why Omega Protein Needs to Decrease Their Catch – First Hand Account of Net Efficiency with Pictures

Check this link out for a first hand account of Omega Protein at work with their spotter planes, large ships and large nets taking out a whole school of menhaden. This just can not keep going on.

A few pictures from the link, several more at the link.
Here they are

Now they are gone

Click here for more

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Chart Tells the Story of the Menhaden Spawning Biomass Collapse

Menhaden Biomass DeclineCapt. Wendelin Giebel from Long Island, NY researched accounts of the menhaden fishery going back to Bigelow and Schroeder- Fishes of the Gulf of Maine, G. Brown Goode, NY Times articles dating to the late eighteen hundreds, old fisheries bulletins, local newspaper accounts, wood cuts and prints from the 1800’s, northern landings data,  captains observations etc. In order to account for the observations he estimated there had to be at least 100 adult fish in the waters of the east coast where now there is one (1).

Capt. Giebel put together the graph in this post that shows the menhaden spawning biomass collapse. Even if it is slightly off, it clearly tells a story of the diminished and diminishing menhaden population. ASMFC needs to do something now, not later, later will be too late.

Post comments here or send to:

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Virginia ASMFC Commisioner Jack Travelstead Not Telling the Whole Story

Alison Fairbrother of the Public Trust Project interviewed a number of ASMFC state commissioners on the controversial ten (yes you read that right 10) year restoration target option that will be included in Amendment 2 to the Menhaden Fishery Management Plan.

Mr. Jack Travelstead, the Virginia commissioner, pointed out that the ten year timeline “was supported by over 1,000 public comments,” what he conveniently left out was the fact that the vast majority of respondents (over 21,000) objected to a ten year option. That’s a 21:1 ratio not supporting the ten year option.

Credit goes to Mr. Travelstead for telling the truth in the interview, but come on Mr. Travelstead, if you are going to tell the story, tell the whole thing, over 21,000 public comments opposed the ten year option.

Click here for the story and interviews.

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